Tokyo - the past and recent

When I was walking in the Tokyo Station, I noticed a head statue situated right by a cigarette vending machine.

The explanation of it said that it is of Jan Joosten van Loodensteijn, a seaman of the wrecked Dutch merchant ship, De Liefde that wrecked a shore of Kyushu. He was brought to Edo (current Tokyo) and met the Shogun - Tokugawa Ieyasu. He even became a samurai. One side of the Tokyo Station is called "Yaesu". It derives from his Japanese name "Yayosu". It is interesting to learn that such a familiar name of a location in Tokyo came from a foreigner!

Tokyo station as seen from Marunouchi side (the opposite of Yaesu side). The renovation is going well - the circular roof is now apparant.

Inside the station.

Below photos are of very recent events. Although not very many people here are Christians, businesses decorate for the Christmas Season.

Trees lit up for Christmas in front of Ritz Carlton Hotel.

The Christmas lighting exhibition at the Ritz.


Nikko Visit (very briefly)

I had a brief visit to Nikko on Thursday.

It was a very cold day and from what I understand, it had the first snow of the season.

Shinkyo,the Sacred Bridge, spans across Daiya River to Futarasan Shrine.

Here's a view from the bridge - very beautiful in new snow.

Then we drover over to the entrance to the Toshogu Shrine.

The entrance way to the shrine.

Here's the first gate into the shrine - I chose not to enter it for the lack of time.

There was a nice Five Story Pagoda right next to the gate.


Ueno Park

Last weekend, I went to Ueno Park to see a friend's painting exhibited at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum.

He is an amateur painter, but has gotten many awards.

At the entrance of the museum was a big silver sphere - an interesting exhibit.

Here is the picture titled "Yacht Harbor" painted by my friend. It is a very nice oil paint.

A memorial clock tower for the victims of the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and the air raids on Tokyo during the WWII.

At the park, there exhibited a face of the Great Buddha statue that was originally constructed in the 17th Century. It was of course built to pray to easing of people's suffering. The head fell down at the time of the 1923 earthquake. Amazingly, the body of the Buddha statue was donated for the war efforts during the WWII. This is a truly an awful and very sad story.

And of course, the famous statue of Saigo-san (Saigo Takamori) is a very popular sightseeing spot. He is one of the historical figure that achieved the Meiji Restration that led to the modernization of Japan.


Bangkok Part 2

Here are more scenes from Bangkok.

Garuda, winged vehicle of Buddha, riding on serpents
Beautiful wall pictures were being restored at the temple.
Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho

Bangkok Part 1

Last weekend, I was in Bangkok, Thailand.

Here are some scenes I saw running and walking around.
Fried Insects
Caution Poster
A Buddhist Monk checking his e-mail.


Nice walk in the park

I was supposed to run a marathon yesterday (Tsukuba). Unfortunately, I had to abort the idea when I got a sudden knee pain on Thursday. Guess I have to rest for a while and re-start training so I will be fit to run again.

It is a holiday in Japan today (Labor Thanksgiving Day). I had a nice walk in Inokashira Park with our puppy this morning. It was sunny, warm and nice with still autumn colored leaves hanging on to our enjoyment. There were many people out that were enjoying the weather.

Hyotan Ike (Pond) reflects the bicycle rider over the little bridge.
A girl enjoys the swing.
Pigeons lined up on tree branches.
Many of the trees are cherries, maples, and pines.

Visitors can rent boats - some are shaped like swans.


Tama River

In a beautiful weather, I had a very nice run along Tama River today.

On the river bank, there were picnicking and fishing.

Some people enjoy water sports.

Sparrows flew away when I got too close.

Here are Japanese pampas grass.



I made my first trip to Koyasan, the sacred place for Shingon Sect of Buddhism in Japan. It is in Wakayama Prefecture and was founded over 1,200 years ago by Kūkai. From Namba Station in Osaka, it takes an express train and a cable car ride to Koyasan Station - approximately 1 hour 30 min.

The cable car to Koyasan.

From there, it took about 15 min. taxi ride to get to our Shukubo, or Lodging Temple. I stayed at Henjôkô-in.

A beautiful garden at Henjoko-in.

The entrance to the Kongōbuji, the main Buddhist temple in Koyasan.

A beautiful rock garden of Kongobuji - it is one of the largest in Japan.

Konpon Daito, the spiritual symbol of Shingon Sect.

Leaves of maple have changed color.


Views from Kasumigaseki Building

Last week, I had a meeting at Kasumigaseki Building. From the 35th floor, I took the photos below.

The woody area is the Imperial Palace ground.

The Diet building. It is also seen at the left side of the above photo.

Tokyo Tower is a landmark of this city.


Autumn Run

Time flies and it is almost November. I noticed during my weekend run that there definitely were signs of autumn. I enjoyed the peaceful jog in a cool Saturday afternoon.

Leaves of persimmon have changed and now bearing fruits.

Kiwi fruits
These sakura flowers are confused about the season.